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November 16, 2008

Benchmark report highlights changing buying habits

Meetings and events agency Conference Care has released the results of its latest UK Benchmark Report for April to September 2008.

The report highlights five key issues for the industry:

• Procurement and finance departments are having much more influence in the sector. Some are even questioning the need for residential events, which has resulted in increasing pressure on 24-hour events.

• Industry recognition that MICE market is under pressure has resulted in hotels creating aggressive tactical offers at short notice.

• Day delegate rates, which have previously shown growth, are now under pressure as the “credit crunch” starts to bite. This has resulted in a softening in rates achieved.

• Accommodation rates that have shown strong growth for many years, especially in the City, are now in decline as corporates demand value for money.

• Lead times continue to reduce allowing event planners to maximise on venue tactical offers.

“The uncertain economic climate has definitely affected the MICE market from the suppliers side in the UK. The Benchmark also points to the fact that client buying patterns have significantly changed in 2008,” said Conference Care director Andrew Deakin.

“Lead times are still falling, with clients recognising the huge amount of strategic promotions being offered, and they are prepared to wait for them in order to achieve best rates.

“We have seen the market contract and there are now fewer events taking place that are also smaller and less likely to be residential. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have always been the preferred days for meeting planners, and with availability easing we can see them moving their events back from the shoulder days to their more preferred days.”

The benchmark data is taken from live information from Conference Care’s 11,000 event enquiries per year.

The full Benchmark Report is available as a free download from www.conferencecare.com

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